Considering that I had just one day on the Ballynahinch, it was a piece of serious luck that I'd drawn Beat One of the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel water which took in the pool immediately below the lough. (A German guest at the hotel, indeed, sidled up to me and wanted to know how much I'd paid to fix the draw.)

So now I found myself in one of those no-win situations. If I got a fish - well, of course, it would have been easy-peasy, - I was on Beat One wasn't I? And if I came home fishless - well, the verdict would have been, This guy can't fish! Actually, prospects weren't great. There'd been big water the week before and a lot of fish had run right through and up into the lough.

I walked up to Beat One - another plus was that it was the nearest to the hotel - and found it to be very civilized , with a stone groyne to cast from so that it was easy to cover the lovely stream run at the neck of the pool. I tied on the same Silver Stoat that I'd use all the week and got to work

Time passed, a lot of it. Lunch break came and went. There was a public footpath along the river at this point, so I had lots of company, though no-one stayed long until, right on 6 pm, I had a smash take. The salmon streaked across the pool and started jumping wildly under the far bank. Which, of course, didn't look good. (For me, not the salmon. For some reason not fully understood, a salmon that takes to the air, big time, is a salmon that's lightly hooked).

Anyway, this one put on a spectacular show, jumped five times, was on about five minutes and then threw the fly. The small group of spectators who'd materialised out of nowhere groaned like the Lions fans at the last test in Sydney every time Jonny Wilkinson missed a penalty. (Note the rugby reference. I'll be picking up on that later. ) But, after the obligatory short burst of unsuitable language, I was not overwhelmed with grief. If the fish hadn't come off, what would have happened next? In maybe three more minutes it would have been netted by the gillie, knocked on the head, to be displayed later on outside the hotel dining room. (Gillies, like anglers, don't like to come home fishless - and there was the reputation of Beat One to be considered as well as the hotel game book.)

So what? I thought. No big deal. I've been fishing too long to worry over missing five minutes of fame in the bar. That salmon had given me everything I could have asked for - the wonderful shock of the take after eight hours of fruitless casting and a spectacular aerial display afterwards. What more could I want? And did I care if the German, the one who'd wanted to know how much I'd tipped the head keeper to get Beat One, gave me a cynical grin when I told him I'd lost a fish? Well, no, not actually

The second salmon came a week later. I'd headed down to Kerry, caught some seatrout in the Upper Loughs at Waterville and then, on my last day. had a bit of luck when a flash flood had hit the little River Inny overnight and was running down into perfect nick for the mornings fishing.

As I hinted earlier I'm a lifelong rugby fan. Which will explain why, early on the Saturday morning when the British and Irish Lions were playing Australia in the first test, I , er, went fishing on the Inny with, er, a radio in my coat pocket and, er, earphones on so that I could listen to the game while I fished. And I was casting this size 10 Silver Stoat - all right, somewhat mechanically - when two things happened almost simultaneously. O'Driscoll got the Lions third try. And, as it swung round into the slack, my line tightened.

I reckon O'Driscoll actually helped me hook that salmon. Summer fishing with a small fly and a floating line, you're not supposed to strike, right? Yet all too often, and especially when you've been fishing for a couple of hours without seeing a fish, strike is what you do.

But - thank you, Brian O'Driscoll - when he scored that brilliant individual try (it was after that the travelling Lions fans started singing Waltzing O'Driscoll to the fury of the Aussies) I wasn't even looking at my line and the salmon turned away with the fly and hooked itself. Nice little summer fish, straight out of the sea. Seven or eight pounds. I didn't weigh it because I put it back.

(Which is something that would have been unthinkable, say, 10 years ago, as would be using a fly with a barbless hook - or at least one with a pinched-down barb. All I can say is that it becomes easier with practice)

Meantime, I'm hailing a unique sporting double - a Lions try and a salmon hooked simultaneously. Beats all those Macnab trebles in my opinion